Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sage Advice from Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat

1. Counsel often. Get into a habit of quarterly counseling (monthly won't work when you have a big division). I had a hard time at first counseling people, mainly because I simply waited until they messed up big time to then hammer them. That method, while in the short term is effective, means that you get to have uncomfortable conversations all the time, rather than focusing on building excellence. Quarterly counseling allows you the chance to talk to subordinates and lay out your expectations, and it gets them used to talking to you on a routine basis. It will likely nip problems in the bud sooner, and when it doesn't, you'll have documentation of ongoing issues.
2. Make sure your instructions are up to date. I'm shocked how many command instructions are antiquated, despite being "reviewed" every year. Take the time to make your command instructions match reality. Put in what you want and need to operate, not what you think sounds nice.
3. Use your division's SORM. If you haven't written a SORM for your division, you're missing the opportunity to lay out your expectations of how things run. For example, once I wrote what working hours were for unqualified vs. qualified personnel, my unqualified Sailors began making more progress on qualifications, a win-win for both sides.
4. Remember that fairness involves the Navy and taxpayer too. Don't screw the Navy and our taxpayers by letting little things slide because of a sob-story from one of your Sailors. There are second-order effects at play. For every sailor that cries his or her way out of a rule being enforced, you tell your other sailors it's OK to do that, and you likely pass the problems onto the next division officer or command. Enforcing rules doesn't make you un-human, rather, it helps you keep good order and discipline.

I agree with all four points above.  For more from NG36 Bureaucrat go HERE.


HMS Defiant said...

Just out of morbid curiosity, what did your LPOs, Chiefs, Division Officers and Department Heads actually do?

Navy Grade 36 Bureaucrat said...

I take it the question is directed at me...

- My LPOs are running the day-to-day. I make a thousand requests for everything from supplies to status updates, and the LPO is the one that really gets things done.

- "Officers run the Navy, chiefs make the Navy run." I'd be screwed without my Chief. The Chief is my counsel whenever I make a complicated decision. He or she is the person that can pull me aside when I make a bad decision and help me fix it.

- Department Heads are counseling me. Every time I rage about something at the command, my DH would break down exactly what the CO or XOs thinking was, which helps prepare me to take over those roles some day.

It's a team effort. Everyone has a role, and when we all do our part, our organization fires on all cylinders.

Sean Heritage said...

Well done, NG36B! Keep writing, keep making those who care enough to read to be better!

HMS Defiant said...

We used to have an unwritten contract. I would counsel as required and share with the chiefs and LPOs my impressions of the division and later the department and later the departments and the command. But the best way to ensure that we weren't getting cross ways in the message we sent to the junior sailors was to have the LPO and Chief counsel them.